From the Desk of Ed Hume: Getting the Lawn Ready for Spring

March 5, 2012 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

The lawn is the framework of most landscapes, so many of us like to keep our lawns really nice. Here are a few ideas of what you can do to keep the lawn in tiptop shape this spring. Hopefully you’ll only have to do a couple of these procedures to get your lawn looking really nice.

FEEDING THE LAWN

This is the first thing most homeowners want to do in early spring. Actually, it is the last thing you want to do. If the lawn needs even minor repair, such as mowing, liming, or aerating, do that first. When it is time to feed the lawn, use a fertilizer that is specially formulated for feeding lawns. A lawn food states on the label that it is a lawn fertilizer. Next, consider whether you want an organic or commercial fertilizer. An organic fertilizer takes about 3 weeks to begin greening, but is fairly long lasting. A commercial fertilizer will generally begin working in about a week, but most do not last as long as the organic fertilizer.

If moss is a problem in your lawn, you might want to select a brand that has a moss control product included. That way, you can feed the lawn and kill the moss in one easy application. However, I want you to know that moss control products only kill the moss, and don’t correct the condition that encouraged the moss to grow in the first place.

MOSS IN THE LAWN

If moss is taking over your lawn, you have two choices. 1) Make it a moss lawn. Then you only have to take the time to keep the grass from growing. 2) Correct soil conditions so the moss with not grow. Poor drainage, heavy soils, acidic conditions, and deep shade can be some of the major causes of moss growth. Correct these conditions and moss should not be such a problem.

LIME THE SOIL

As mentioned earlier, moss is often an indicator of acidic soil, so in these cases, lime is usually need. A simple D.Y.I. soil test kit will aid you in determining how acidic the soil is in your lawn area. Some types of lime can be applied with fertilizer, others should be applied a few weeks before. A knowledgeable garden clerk can help you make a decision about which one will suit your needs. Lime in early spring, during cooler weather.

WEEDS IN THE LAWN

It’s too early to apply commercial weed control or weed & feed products. The best way to eliminate the weeds is to pull them out with a weed pulling device or a screwdriver.

AERATING

There are two ways to approach aerating. You can use a machines that cuts into the turf, and brings thatch to the surface. Thatching is drastic and it usually takes the lawn 4 to 6 weeks to recover. However, if there is a half inch or more of thatch, it makes it difficult for fertilizer or water to get to the grass roots below where it will do some good. In addition to thatching/aerating machines, there are also blades that fit on rotary mowers or hand tools that can be used for aerating.

OVER-SEEDING

If your lawn is sparse you can over-seed with new seed to help fill in the bare spots. Early spring, about mid March to mid May is a good time to do this. Simply spread or broadcast the seed over the existing lawn. Fertilize first and water after sowing the seed

A little extra care now will help assure you of a beautiful lawn this spring and early summer.

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